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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Missile display demonstrates China's strategic ambitions: experts

Central News Agency

2015/09/03 17:32:18

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) The various ballistic missiles displayed by China at a massive military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's World War II defeat fully demonstrated Beijing's strategic ambitions, experts said Thursday.

The parade, held at Tiananmen Square Wednesday, featured 12,000 soldiers, 500 pieces of hardware and almost 200 aircraft, with 84 percent of the equipment seen in public for the first time.

Among the new missiles on display were the latest iterations of the Dongfeng (DF) series of short-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, including the DF-15, DF-16, DF-21D, and DF-26.

Also on display were the DF-31 and DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the CJ-10 land attack cruise missile.

Hong Kong-based military analyst Leung Kwok-Leung (梁國樑), said the Chinese military's main strategic intention is to break the military encirclement set up by the United States in the Asia Pacific, namely the "first island chain" and the "second island chain."

Specifically, the Chinese military wants to control the first island chain and attack the second island chain, and the latest military parade has fully demonstrated China's intentions, Leung said.

At present, weapons held by the Chinese military are sufficient to control the sea and air space within the first island chain, he said.

While the range of the DF-21C covers all islands within the first island chain, the DF-21D, dubbed the "carrier-killer," aims at targets located between the first and second island chains, he said.

The DF-26, meanwhile, has a range of 4,000 to 5,000 kilometers, which is far enough to attack the second island chain and has been dubbed the "Guam killer."

Leung said China has developed the DF-26 for many years but only publicly displayed it this time, which he said proved that the missile has reached a final phase of development.

Hsu Yen-chi (徐彥齊), an assistant research fellow at the Council of Strategic and War Gaming Studies, said the latest versions of the DF-15 and DF-16 are two types of newly improved short-range ballistic missiles that pose the greatest threat to Taiwan.

Each of the missiles can carry two or more warheads to conduct multi-target attacks, he said.

The DF-16 has a range of between 1,000 to 1,500 km and can reach U.S. military bases in Okinawa, according to Hsu.

(By Stanley Cheung, Wang Cheng-chung and Y.F. Low)

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